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Avastin Added to Chemo Helps Women With Advanced Cancer
Date:5/31/2008

Anti-angiogenesis drug prolonged progression-free survival, study finds

SATURDAY, May 31 (HealthDay News) -- Adding the drug Avastin to chemotherapy lengthened progression-free survival in women with advanced breast cancer, new research shows.

Previous studies have found that adding Avastin (bevacizumab) to the chemotherapy drug Taxol (paclitaxel) in women with advanced breast cancer actually doubled progression-free survival.

Avastin is already approved for use in metastatic colon cancer, non-small cell lung cancer and, recently, in newly diagnosed metastatic breast cancer (in combination with paclitaxel).

"Avastin is an anti-angiogenesis drug [one that inhibits blood supply to the tumor] that appears to have activity across a variety of cancers," Dr. Nancy Davidson, director of the breast cancer program at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center in Baltimore and president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), said during a teleconference earlier this month.

"Angiogenesis is clearly a very important process in the tumorogenesis of many malignances, and one of the first agents we've had available to us in the clinic is Avastin, which has demonstrated some efficacy in several genotypes," said study author Dr. David Miles, a medical oncologist at the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre in Middlesex, U.K.

Miles, who is presenting the findings this weekend at the American Society for Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago, spoke at a Saturday news conference.

The current study looked at Avastin added to the chemotherapy agent Taxotere (docetaxel). Taxotere is more commonly used outside the United States, while Taxol is more commonly used in the United States.

This phase III trial involved 736 patients randomized into one of three groups: Taxotere alone, Taxotere plus a high dose (15 mg/kg) of Avastin, or Taxotere plus a low dose of Avastin (7.5 mg/kg). The lower dose of Ava
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